Here's how we do this. Every day features a new position group. We provide three categories and place each conference team accordingly: "Great shape," "Good shape" and "We'll see."
It's time to look at the Pac-12 North's quarterbacks.
There's always a degree of anxiety that comes with a quarterback starting in his true freshman season. But when he passes the test unscathed -- as Jake Browning did last year -- then the window to a bright future opens wide. The Huskies are set to enjoy that effect now. Browning took major strides in 2015, and he's well-positioned for more: Washington's offensive line returns a year stronger, while running back Myles Gaskin is a promising counter-threat in the backfield. Teammates rave about Browning's playbook study habits. Expect the Huskies to surge forward offensively in 2016.
Luke Falk impressed immediately upon stepping in for the injured Connor Halliday two seasons ago. Falk took his game to the next level last season, and now coach Mike Leach can sleep well knowing that there are few -- if any -- quarterbacks in the country better equipped to operate the Air Raid than Falk. He's certainly capable of posting huge numbers out of the shotgun -- the chemistry with the Cougars' returning receiving corps is there -- but Falk also can do damage with his legs when it's needed. He's an excellent field general.
The Cardinal last broke in a new quarterback after Andrew Luck left four years ago. Now, they must replace Kevin Hogan. Up until a couple of months ago, we had this one in the "We'll See" category, especially considering the fact that Stanford's last quarterback transition didn't go so smoothly (the team initially went to Josh Nunes in 2012 before handing the reins over to Hogan). But both Ryan Burns and Keller Chryst impressed with their presence, polish and touch this spring. They're both 6-foot-5 and about 235 pounds, so the eye test is passed with flying colors here. Nothing's certain at quarterback until the bright lights come on, but the Cardinal have reason to be optimistic.
There are rumors that Texas Tech graduate transfer Davis Webb, currently committed to Colorado, is seriously considering the Golden Bears as his 2016 destination. If that happens, he'll almost certainly be Jared Goff's successor, and Cal will move up to the "Good Shape" category. For now, though, the Bears are hosting a battle between Chase Forrest and Ross Bowers, two young quarterbacks who both enjoyed productive springs. The key word there, though, is "young." Following in the footsteps of perhaps the greatest quarterback in program history, there's a lot of work to do in Berkeley.
Prior to last season, it might have seemed that the Ducks could plug in just about anybody into their quarterback position and enjoy solid productivity. But that theory was debunked in 2015 after Vernon Adams Jr. was injured. Oregon's passing game combusted in shocking fashion while the starter was out, thus verifying that the name under center was, well, important. Montana State graduate transfer Dakota Prukop and Travis Jonsen are the two leaders for the 2016 job, but neither has been able to show off their running ability yet because of limited spring contact rules. The Ducks are loaded with weapons surrounding quarterback, so that helps, but the position itself is still a question mark.
Utah State transfer Darell Garretson will likely be the Beavers' main man under center, and he enjoyed an efficient spring game (21-of-32, 263 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions). So, there is some reason for optimism here. But the bottom line is that Oregon State's passing offense did not earn any benefit of the doubt in 2015. The Beavers completed only 47 percent of their throws on the season -- a full 16 points behind the second-to-worst team -- and averaged a measly 19 points per game as a result. Improvement at quarterback is absolutely mandatory for Gary Andersen's team.